[HISTORY: Adopted by the Bloomfield Council of the 2-18-2004 by Ord. No. 04-06 (Ch. 67 of the 1987 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to provide minimum standards and regulations for the use of privately installed emergency alarm systems, to establish permit and registration procedures to facilitate emergency responses of the Township Police and Fire Departments, to establish fees and penalties for violation and to create an administrative apparatus. The provisions of this chapter shall apply to any person who operates, maintains or owns any alarm device or local alarm that is designed to summon the Police Department, Fire Department or other municipal agency to any location in response to any type of alarm signal.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM DEVICE
- Any mechanism designed to actuate the alarm console.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- The installation in one or more buildings, residential or otherwise, of one or more alarm devices or local alarms to provide visual or audible warnings, or both, of an emergency, such as unauthorized intrusion, fire, smoke, flood or similar hazard requiring urgent attention. Alarm system shall not include:
- A. An alarm installed on or in a vehicle, unless the vehicle is permanently located at a site; nor
- B. An alarm designed to alert only the inhabitants of a single-family residential premises or residential unit and not designed to be seen, heard or communicated to a third person outside of the particular premises or unit.
- AUDIBLE ALARM
- Alarm equipment that emits an audible signal at the premises that it is designed to protect.
- The Chief of Police of the Township of Bloomfield or his designee.
- DIAL ALARM
- Alarm equipment that employs an automatic dialing system programmed to connect with the police headquarters' telephone and emit a prerecorded voice message.
- A unit or premises occupied or intended to be occupied for residential purposes by a single family.
- FALSE ALARM
- An alarm device or dial alarm actuated for which there is no evidence of an emergency or for which there exists evidence of an equipment failure or evidence of inadvertence on the part of any permittee, agents, servants and employees requiring a response by police, fire or other municipal agency. False alarms shall include actuations caused by malfunctioning of the alarm device, dial alarm or other relevant equipment but shall not include alarm actuations caused by natural forces or other extraordinary circumstances not subject to control by the permittee.
- LOCAL ALARM
- Any mechanism, other than a dial alarm, that constitutes in whole or in part an alarm system that is not connected with and is not designed to actuate the police alarm console, including any alarm or device which, when actuated, produces an audible signal, such as store burglar alarms actuating bell devices.
- A person in possession of premises in or upon which an alarm system has been installed.
- A person to which a permit has been issued in accordance with § 116-5 to install, operate or maintain an alarm system that includes one or more alarm devices.
No person shall install, maintain, use or cause to be used any alarm system within the Township unless a permit therefor has been issued by the Chief in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
Every permit issued for an alarm system shall expire on December 31 of the year in which it is issued. No person shall use an alarm system during any period when the permit has expired or is suspended.
With each permit, the applicant must provide a list of three persons to be contacted in the event of an actuation. This contact person(s) must respond within 30 minutes of contact.
Local alarm systems with exterior audible alarms are permitted if the device is equipped with an automatic alarm shutoff after 10 minutes.
Dial alarms shall be permitted only if designed to dial three successive times for the purpose of leaving a message no longer than three minutes in length.
All alarm devices shall be installed in accordance with the requirements of N.J.A.C. 5:23 et seq., the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code. All fire alarm devices shall be installed with the approval of the Fire Official and in accordance with N.J.A.C. 5:18, the New Jersey Uniform Fire Code.
The initial fee for alarm system permits shall be $25 for all private alarm systems, including warning and sounding devices. The annual fee for all subsequent years shall be $5.
[Amended 9-6-2005 by Ord. No. 05-22]
The fee shall not be prorated by reason of the date upon which an application is filed, but the fee shall be refunded to the applicant in the event that a permit is not issued.
The Chief shall issue a permit for an alarm system unless the Chief concludes that the system covered by the application does not meet the applicable standards of this chapter. A copy of each permit should be forwarded to the Bureau of Fire Prevention by the Chief. Whenever the Chief shall refuse to issue a permit, he shall advise the applicant, in writing, of the reason or reasons for refusal. Registration shall be required for each alarm system within the Township on the effective date of this chapter. Users of alarm systems in place on that date shall complete the registration form within 30 days after this chapter takes effect.
Any person utilizing an alarm system shall complete and file with the Chief a registration form, which may be obtained from the Police Department, correctly containing the following information:
Full name, address and telephone number of the applicant, including an address description which will permit the appropriate municipal department to respond to the alarm.
Common name of the alarm premises.
Name and address of the person installing, maintaining and/or owning the alarm system.
Description of the alarm system's operation, including, not by way of limitation, activation points of the alarm system and the mechanism or mechanisms by which the alarm system becomes activated.
Name, address and telephone number of the person monitoring and initially responding to an activation of the alarm system.
Name, address and telephone numbers of three responsible persons other than the permittee to be contacted in case of alarm and/or malfunction, commonly referred to as "key-holders." The Chief may grant waivers if he determines three key-holders cannot be provided by the permittee.
Any additional relevant information specifically requested by the Chief.
Provisions relating to false alarms and testing procedures.
If there has occurred any material change in the information previously submitted with respect to any alarm system by the alarm user, it shall be the duty of the alarm user, within 10 days of such material change, to file a supplemental or revised registration form containing accurate current information. This chapter shall include, but is in no way limited to, the disconnection of said alarm. Failure to comply with these provisions will be deemed a violation of this chapter and subject the violator to the penalties contained herein.
All permits for alarm systems shall be issued upon the following terms and conditions:
A permit shall be issued for each separate improved property, store, building or facility, and no permit shall be transferred or assigned in any manner.
Every permittee shall be subject to the rules and standards set forth in this chapter.
If an alarm system is disconnected, the permittee shall give written notice to the Police Department within seven days of such disconnection. Any permittee who fails to give the notice required under this subsection shall be subject to the penalties contained herein.
Any permit issued for an alarm system may be suspended by the Chief if it appears that:
The permittee has failed to comply with the terms and conditions of the permit or has failed to comply with rules or standards promulgated by the Chief concerning alarm systems.
The permittee or his agents knowingly installed or maintained a faulty alarm system.
The permittee or his agents failed to comply with a request by the Chief to render necessary services to a faulty alarm system within 36 hours after such request was made or failed to disconnect such alarm system that has not been repaired. Five false alarms within any calendar year shall constitute prima facie evidence that an alarm system is faulty.
In the event that the Chief shall determine that a permit for an alarm system shall be suspended by reason of the provisions of this section, the Chief shall notify the permittee of the suspension in writing, by certified mail, to the last known address, setting forth the reason or reasons for the suspension.
A suspension shall be terminated by the Chief when he is satisfied that the conditions stated in the notice of suspension have been corrected.
Any unauthorized alarm system or equipment shall be disconnected by the Chief or his designated representative for noncompliance with this chapter, and any person installing or maintaining unauthorized alarm system equipment shall be prosecuted for violation of this chapter, and each day such equipment is in operation shall be considered a separate violation.
Any person aggrieved by the action of the Chief in the denial or suspension of a permit for an alarm system shall have the right of appeal to the Township Administrator. The appeal shall be taken by filing with the Township Administrator, within 10 calendar days after the notice of action complaint has been mailed to the person's last known address, a written statement setting forth fully the grounds for appeal. The Township Administrator shall set a time and place for hearing of the appeal, and notice of the hearing shall be given to the appellant by certified mail to his last known address at least five calendar days prior to the date set for hearing. The decisions of the Township Administrator and the reasons therefor shall be set forth in writing by the Township Administrator.
In the case of a false alarm, any permittee or his agent or representative having knowledge thereof shall immediately notify the Township Police Department.
Where a permittee or his agent or representative notifies the Township Police Department within 60 seconds of the activation of the alarm, the actuation shall not be deemed to be a false alarm for the purpose of imposing penalties upon the permittee.
The Chief shall cause an investigation to be made of all false alarms and a record of such false alarms kept on file. For the first, second and third false alarms in any given calendar year, a warning shall be issued. When a particular premises in or upon which an alarm system is installed which is subject to control by the occupant experiences three false alarms within a period of one year, the Township Committee prescribes the following penalties:
A fine of $100 shall be paid to the Township for every Police or Fire Department response to an alarm actuation at that premises for the fourth false alarm to be paid by the registrant or permittee. Payment of said fee shall be due and owing no later than 15 days following the date of the response.
A fine of $200 for each false alarm over four false alarms shall be levied against the registrant, permittee or person that installed the alarm system if the false alarm is the responsibility of that person. For the purpose of this paragraph, no alarm actuations during the thirty-day period immediately following installation of the alarm system shall be deemed to be false alarms.
Where the investigation of the Police Department discloses the failure of a permittee to take remedial steps to prevent false alarms, the Chief may require said permittee to disconnect the alarm system, provided that no permit shall be revoked or suspended without giving the permittee an opportunity to show cause before the Township Administrator why such action should not be taken.
Neither the Township nor the Police Department shall assume any responsibility whatsoever with respect to the adequacy, operation or maintenance of any alarm system. No action taken by the Township or the Police Department pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall create any liability upon the Township or the Police Department by reason of any failure of any alarm system, any failure to respond to any emergency or any act or omission relating to any alarm system.
By installing an alarm system and registering same with the Township, each alarm user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Township, its agents, servants and employees from and against all claims, suits, damages, costs, losses and expenses and to release the Township, its agents, servants and employees from any and all liability or damages in any way resulting from or arising out of or connected with the installation, operation or maintenance of the alarm system or any act or omission connected therewith.
The Chief may from time to time promulgate written rules and regulations supplementing this chapter to provide for recordkeeping and efficient management of the system, provided that no such rules and regulations shall be effective until the Township Committee shall first approve such rules and regulations, or any amendments thereto, by appropriate resolution.
Any person found guilty in the Municipal Court of the Township for violation of the terms of this chapter other than for violating the terms of § 116-11, which provides specific penalties for violations thereof, shall be subject to the penalties in § 1-15 of the Code. Responsibility for enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, including but not limited to fines, disconnections, summons and permit suspensions shall be the Police Department, Construction Official or Fire Official.